Historically, in any era, there are always some countries that are getting near the edge and others that are not.
But, once a year, a Final Closeout Sale would be held. Prices were far lower than the cost to manufacture the goods and this would be the one and only time in the year when extreme bargains were to be had.
Benjamin Franklin famously said, “Nothing is certain except for taxes and death.” He was correct, but the level of tax can vary greatly from one country to the next.
A decade or more ago, I began to discuss with associates the possibility of governments and banks colluding to eliminate physical cash. Back then, the idea struck most everyone as poppycock, that governments could never get away with it.
Governments are in the flim-flam business. Pared down to the bare essentials, governments can be very useful in passing and enforcing a small number of very basic laws.